Yucca Hotel, New Mexico

Yucca Hotel, New Mexico

The Yucca Hotel has an interesting history. It opened in June 1929 as the Hotel Swastika—yes, Swastika. The hotel chose Swastika because it was a symbol commonly used in the area by many of the local Native American Indian tribes. There were many businesses in the Raton area that also used the Swastika symbol and name in their corporate logo and masthead. The hotel operated for ten years as the Hotel Swastika until it changed its name to Hotel Yucca in 1939.

Raton was then a major crossroads with three major U.S. highways bisecting the city and was on the main route of the Santa Fe Railroad. When the hotel opened it had six floors and 80 guest rooms. The ground floor held several businesses that paid rent to the hotel. One Raton resident described the building as “very elegant” and the best hotel between Santa Fe and Colorado Springs. An article in the Raton Range newspaper noted that Taos artists consigned some of their artwork in the hotel. Interested patrons could purchase the paintings and this kept a steady supply of nice artwork on exhibit in the hotel.

By 1938 the actions of Adolf Hitler had alarmed enough people that the Swastika symbol took on a whole new meaning. The hotel manager at the time Ainslee Embree said that potential guests refused to stay at the hotel because of the negative connotations associated with the Swastika. A contest was held and the new name chosen was the Yucca, in honor of the New Mexico state flower.

Thirty years later with the influx of motels, motor hotels and inns serving the interstate highway travelers the Hotel Yucca closed its doors in 1969. In 1971 the building was converted to a bank. The building still looks very nice and has been kept up nicely as a bank.

For more information see:

Windows On The Past: Historic lodgings of New Mexico, By Sandra Lynn, 1999.

Raton Range, November 27, 2007

Hotel Monthly, May 1939

Texas Hotel Review, September 1938 and November 1940.


Hotel Yucca Letterhead,1941





Hotel Swastika

Hotel Yucca, Raton, N.M.

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